Friday, 12 October 2012

Last Days in Aberdeen

We kept our last two days in Aberdeen fairly low-key as far as sightseeing went because we needed to get ready for the last leg of our journey. Sunday was spent mostly doing church things, and for the first time ever Walter was so upset that he had to be carried out of both church services. He very strongly objected to the Episcopalian Church that Pippa & Andy go to and demanded to leave as soon as we entered it, so I spent the entire service in the nursery. I was very thankful that they had a nursery, including one with age-appropriate toys. As a responsible parent I wanted to see if Walter would play with age-appropriate toys, since he doesn’t have any of his own. Apparently I’d made the right decision in not plunking down a lot of cash on infant toys since he completely ignored the baby gym and spent his time staring at a garbage pail and shrieking at it with glee. 

Unimpressed with the baby gym
Post-Episcopalian-Church there was a pub lunch with a load of Aberdeen University Theology PhD students who all seemed to have a connection with Princeton. We went to a pub and discovered the many ways you can eat haggis—haggis nachos (which I really regret not trying), deep-fried haggis balls (strangely delicious), and haggis-burger-topping (which I thought would be good but since it consisted of a deep-fried haggis ball atop a lacklustre meat patty it wasn’t that great). Then it was off to the Winter Gardens which proved to be the loveliest set of glass houses I’ve seen thus far. It was fun watching Walter try to interact with plants, and the look he gave us when we tried to help him toss a penny into the wishing well was priceless. He often wears a look that suggests “my parents are idiots but I will humour them if it will get me more milk”.

In the evening we went for our second church service of the day, this time a Catholic Mass at the university. It was held in King’s College Chapel. After appearing to be in his normal state at Mass, ie relatively sleepy and relaxed, Walter launched into an epic meltdown, screaming so loudly that I could hear him even after David had taken him out of doors. Fortunately Pippa was with us so she was able to watch him while David & I went up for communion. The Bishop of Aberdeen was visiting so we got him to bless Walter afterwards. By the time we got back to Andy’s Walter was somewhat more settled. Still, thus far he’s behaved at 7/8 church services :)

On Monday I figured out how to get us from Andy’s place into town, and Walter took his first trip by bus. The trip in was to run the last few in-town errands before leaving but we managed to finish early and thus had time to view a few more touristy places. We started at the St Nicholas Kirk graveyard, where I enjoyed looking at the lovely old tombstones and David enjoyed the giant granite stone, erected by a granite merchant for his desceased wife and acting more as an advertisement (it even had his giant logo on it!) than has a memorial.

A monument at the foot of Union Street

From the graveyard we went to Provost Skene’s House. I normally love museums but the name of this one kept putting me off, as it just sounds incredibly boring. It ended up being great—it’s a really old house full of various period rooms, clothing, and knicknacks. It was an interesting view into Ye Olde Scotland, particularly as a lot of the history is tied up with civil war etc. The best part of it, however, is “the painted gallery” which is a room that still retains its medieval wall & ceiling paintings. There’s been some iconoclastic damage but not enough to destroy the room and it was just incredible to view medieval painting in situ

Outside of Provost Skene's House

Ye Olde Scottish Dining Hall

Victorian Nursery

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